Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How To Spend The RNC $150K

Piper Palin carrying her new Louis Vuiton bag... very small town "value", except, unlike the ones you find at the typical small town local flea market, this one is not fake and came from Neiman Marcus.

Before the RNC allowance


Palin in a $2,500 Valentino jacket from Saks Fifth Avenue

Palin's Hairy Past

Because we pay attention to that sort of stuff....

Monday, October 20, 2008


Police say a Michigan man has been arrested after "receiving sexual favors from a vacuum" at a car wash.

The Saginaw News reports the 29-year-old Swan Creek Township man was arrested Thursday in Saginaw County's Thomas Township, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

Police Sgt. Gary Breidinger says a resident called to report suspicious activity at the car wash about 6:45 a.m. An officer approached on foot and caught the man in the act.

The suspect, whose name wasn't immediately released, is being held in the Saginaw County Jail

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bears Are So In

Never mind the credit crunch: A 1,000 euro, or $1,400 at current exchange rates, Karl Lagerfeld teddy bear by German maker Steiff found willing buyers during its unveiling at Colette on Friday. “I bought two, ssssh,” whispered Camille McMillan, a Los Angeles-based design student, who got one of the bears signed by the man himself. “When I saw it I thought that’s the best Christmas present in the world,” said Gareth Pugh, though he won’t be indulging that whim. “Are you kidding us? Do you know how much they are?” he exclaimed while snapping a flock of eager Lagerfeld fans for his blog on Style.com. Lagerfeld, meanwhile, departed with number one of the 2,500 numbered bears, which wear his “uniform” jeans, jacket and tie from the K Karl Lagerfeld collection and his signature black shades from his eyewear line.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I See Your True Colors Shining Through

McCain and Decent Arabs

Hilarious commentary from the Daily Show regarding the racism coming out of the McPalin campaign. (About 4 minutes into the clip)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thank You Ms. Brown

Right On Sister

Planet Green... Riz Khan Interviews Thomas Friedman

While I disagee with Tom on his position regarding the Middle East, when it comes to global warming and other environmental concerns, he makes a lot of sense..

Watch for his hilarious comments regarding Sarah Palin (about five minutes into the interview)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where Homophobia and Islamophobia Intersect

One of the nice things about having the day off from work (it's Columbus Day here in the US) is the joy of catching up with daytime TV.

So, here I am flipping channels as I'm sipping tea, and I land on ABC's Family Channel which still carries Pat Robertson's 700 Club.. in High Def Too

So, two stories in a row... one about the CT Gay Marriage rule that was passed last week, followed by an interview with a dutch right wing activist about the scary rise of Islam in his country and how that is an ideology (not a religion) of hate, barbarism, and submission...

Needless to say that old Pat was outraged about both stories and went on ranting about the evils that both Gay and Muslims present to our "values".. the "Judeo-Christian" values... you know, the values that are responsible for most was in history and the death of countless humans.. those values.

I remember watching Pat's hate fests ever since the 80's.. nice to see somethings never change, except the tons of additional make-up needed for the high definition feed.


The Ladies from the View rock... well, except for Elisabeth...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Banned In The UAE

The United Arab Emirates has been identified as one of the countries that extensively filters content online in a global survey by the OpenNet Initiative.

The UAE not only blocks content that is religiously, culturally and socially inappropriate, but also filters political content. The report pointed out that internet users in the country were also prevented from legitimately using privacy and anonymizing tools and online translation services as they could be used to bypass filtering systems.

The software SmartFilter, from the US-based firm Secure Computing, is used to filter content from specified categories outside the free zones in the UAE. According to the report, the UAE does not just “...extensively block targeted content but they also unnecessarily overblock unrelated content. For instance, Iran and the United Arab Emirates block flickr.com entirely because they have deemed some of the photographs posted on the site objectionable.” The country was given a rank of ‘low’ for its consistency in filtering content.

Based on the global survey, 25 out of 40 countries were found to prohibit access to certain content online. 11 out of those 25 countries are from the Middle East and North Africa region - Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

Interestingly, broadband internet access is growing faster in the MEA region than any other region in the world.

Obsessive Propaganda

If you live in an American swing state you may have received a copy of ‘Obsession’ in your Sunday paper. ‘Obsession’ isn’t a perfume: it’s a documentary about ‘radical Islam’s war against the West’. In the last two weeks of September, 28 million copies of the film were enclosed as an advertising supplement in 74 newspapers, including the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education. ‘The threat of Radical Islam is the most important issue facing us today,’ the sleeve announces. ‘It’s our responsibility to ensure we can make an informed vote in November.’

The Clarion Fund, the supplement’s sponsor, doesn’t explicitly endorse McCain, so as not to jeopardise its tax-exempt status, but the message is clear enough, and its circulation just happened to coincide with Obama’s leap in the polls.

The Clarion Fund is a front for neoconservative and Israeli pressure groups. It has an office, or at least an address, in Manhattan at Grace Corporate Park Executive Suites, which rents out ‘virtual office identity packages’ for $75 a month. Its website, clarionfund.org, provides neither a list of staff nor a board of directors, and the group still hasn’t disclosed where it gets its money, as required by the IRS. Who paid to make ‘Obsession’ isn’t clear – it cost $400,000. According to Rabbi Raphael Shore, the film’s Canadian-Israeli producer, 80 per cent of the money came from the executive producer ‘Peter Mier’, but that’s just an alias, as is the name of the film’s production manager, ‘Brett Halperin’. Shore claims ‘Mier’ and ‘Halperin’, whoever they are, are simply taking precautions, though it isn’t clear against what. The danger (whatever it is) hasn’t stopped Shore – or the director, Wayne Kopping, a South African neocon – from going on television to promote their work.

The 60-minute film was first released in 2006 and shown during the mid-term elections on Fox News. Since then it has received top billing at ‘Islamo-Fascism Awareness’ week on American campuses, at Christian-Zionist conferences and at events organised by Republican politicians in Florida. It has found a powerful backer in the real estate magnate Sheldon Adelson, who describes himself as ‘the world’s richest Jew’. The Endowment for Middle East Truth, a neoconservative think tank in Washington DC which recently hosted a series of seminars named after Adelson and his wife, arranged distribution of ‘Obsession’, at a cost in the tens of millions.

The makers of the film, like their subjects, are soldiers of God. Almost everyone associated with it or with Clarion has worked for Aish HaTorah, an ‘education’ group with offices in East Jerusalem and strong links to the settler movement. Clarion was incorporated in Delaware to the New York offices of Aish HaTorah and Rabbi Shore was the director, as well as the founder of its media organisation, Honest Reporting, which campaigns against a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine. It’s illegal in the US for nonprofit organisations, or for foreign nationals, to try to influence the outcome of an election.

The film’s chief claim is that 2008 is like 1938, only worse, since there are more Muslims than Germans and they’re more spread out geographically: ‘They’re not outside our borders, they are here.’ Violent raptures and spectacular carnage unfold in slick montages set to throbbing Middle Eastern music: Pakistanis deliriously burning the American flag, Palestinians celebrating the 9/11 attacks, Hizbullah chanting ‘death to America’, clerics praising the ‘magnificent 19’ and the murder of unbelievers, children training to become suicide bombers, the planes crashing into the towers. These images are interspersed with footage of Nazi rallies and Hitler’s speeches. A chapter – narrated by Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s biographer – is devoted to the Mufti’s collaboration with Hitler.

Scary Muslims are everywhere, and the umma stands more united than ever, driven by hatred of infidels and Jews and determined to conquer the West, a civilisation gone soft, weakened by self-doubt, political correctness bordering on treason, and, worst of all, a ‘culture of denial’. Gilbert spells it out:

In the 1930s, the danger of Nazism was there . . . but people thought, well, this is a German problem, it’s a limited problem . . . And I think the same is true today . . . They don’t see that Islamic fundamentalism is a global network and a global problem . . .because if you come to that conclusion – and I’m sure it’s the true conclusion – then you have to do something about it.
‘Obsession’ doesn’t say what we should do – except steer well clear of dialogue and negotiation.
Although there are interviews with the usual ‘terrorism experts’ – Daniel Pipes, Alan Dershowitz et al – the film’s portrayal of the region is mostly left to native informants like Nonie Darwish (a leader of Arabs for Israel and the daughter of a slain fighter from Gaza), Brigitte Gabriel (the Lebanese-Christian author of They Must Be Stopped) and Walid Shoebat, a ‘former PLO terrorist’ who operates under a pseudonym – for security reasons, of course. Shoebat runs the Walid Shoebat Foundation, described on its website as an ‘organisation that cries out for the Justice of Israel and the Jewish people’. He’s made a career of recounting his journey from Islamic terror to Christian Zionism before audiences at Evangelical gatherings and the US Air Force Academy. It’s not clear, though, that he ever laid a hand on anyone. According to a relative, ‘the biggest act of terror he ever committed was to glue Palestinian flags on street posts.’ What is very clear is that, for the makers of ‘Obsession’, having once hated Jews gives you privileged access to the Muslim mind, and not only if you’re an ex-Muslim. Among the film’s authorities on radical Islam is a former leader of the Hitler Youth, Alfons Heck, who says that ‘what the Muslims do to their own children is even worse’ than the things the Nazis did to young Germans – as only a Nazi could know.

If you didn’t receive ‘Obsession’ with your paper, you can watch it on YouTube. It’s been posted by a former Muslim whose screen identity is ‘fuckmohammad’.

Cadillac Revolution

If the bailout plan really is a ‘socialist’ measure, it is a very peculiar one: a ‘socialist’ measure whose aim is to help not the poor but the rich, not those who borrow but those who lend.

‘Socialism’ is OK, it seems, when it serves to save capitalism. But what if ‘moral hazard’ is inscribed in the fundamental structure of capitalism?

The problem is that there is no way to separate the welfare of Main Street from that of Wall Street. Their relationship is non-transitive: what is good for Wall Street isn’t necessarily good for Main Street, but Main Street can’t thrive if Wall Street isn’t doing well – and this asymmetry gives an a priori advantage to Wall Street.

From Slavoj Zizek's piece in today's edition of the LRB

A Regime Change Starting In Wall Street???

The following quote is from today's NYT headline story:"US May Take Ownership Stake In Banks":

Fed officials increasingly talk about the challenge they face with a phrase that President Bush used in another context: “regime change.”

This regime change refers to a change in the economic environment so radical that, at least for a while, economic policy makers will need to suspend what are usually sacred principles: minimal interference in free markets, gradualism and predictability.

So, really, socialism comes to the US, courtesy of wealthy bankers and traders... what next? restaurants? gas stations?

and, is that really such a bad thing?


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Take The Land, But Don't Touch My Hummus


The latest conflict simmering between Lebanon and Israel is all about food.  Lebanese businessme are accusing Israel of stealing traditional Middle Eastern dishes like hummus.

Fadi Abboud, president of the Lebanese Industrialists Association, said Tuesday his group plans to sue Israel to stop it from marketing hummus and other regional dishes as Israeli.

"It is not enough they (Israelis) are stealing our land. They are also stealing our civilization and our cuisine," said Abboud.

He said his group also seeks to claim the eggplant spread baba ghannouj and tabbouleh, a salad made of chopped parsley and tomatoes, as Lebanon's own.

Hummus — made from mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic — has been eaten in the Middle East for centuries. Its exact origin is unknown, though it's generally seen as an Arab dish.

But it is also immensely popular in Israel — served in everyday meals and at many restaurants — and its popularity is growing around the globe.

While Abboud cites a history of complaints by Lebanese businessmen about Israel exporting and marketing Lebanese dishes as Israeli, it's not clear where the Lebanese might file suit since the two countries are officially at war.

Israel's Food Industries Association and the Foreign Ministry both declined comment.

Abboud compares his suit to the one over feta cheese in which a European Union court ruled in 2002 the cheese must be made with Greek sheep and goats milk to bear the name feta. That ruling is only valid for products sold in the EU.

Abboud acknowledged an uphill battle, particularly over hummus — which Palestinians also claim as their own.

"Hummus might be debatable, in any case we will be happy if the Palestinians win... But nobody can even discuss whether tabbouleh or baba ghannouj are Lebanese," Abboud added. "We don't have to win. The important thing is to try."

AMD's New "Arab" Money

Advanced Micro Devices teamed up today with IBM and Abu Dhabi to create a new global manufacturing company, The Foundry Company.

The new company will have plants in both Germany and Upstate New York. In New York alone, the company will create an estimated 14,000 new jobs. As anyone who has been to that part of that state, this is great news for the local economy which has been suffering a lot lately.

Yet, in a CNBC interview with the new CEO of the Foundry Company and AMD, the anchor TWICE questions the motives of Abu Dhabi investors in such a deal... Call me paranoid here, but would that question be raised if those investors came from Russia, China, or any other non-Arab country?

Click Here To Watch The Interview

Monday, October 6, 2008

For Those In Beirut.. Or Nearby

Keating Economics

Watch, then send to a friend

New York Remembers Darwish

WNYC, New York's popular public station, broadcast a great piece on New Yorkers getting together to remember the great Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish.

Click Here To Listen

Friday, October 3, 2008

Occupation Idol

When national euphoria broke out last year after an Iraqi singer won a talent contest in Lebanon, the U.S. military considered producing an Iraqi version of "American Idol" to help build nonsectarian nationalism.

The idea was shelved as too expensive, an official said, but "we're trying to think out of the box on" reconciliation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Talking To The Taliban?

The New York Times is reporting today that our man in Afghanistan, (and new friend of Sarah Palin)Hamid Karzai, was in Saudi Arabia urging the royal family to help set up talks with the Taliban...

So much for the "We Don't Talk To Terrorists" crap